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Physical Therapy Can Be Alternative To Pain Meds

By Angela Quinn

These days many people are looking for an alternative to medication for dealing with painful physical conditions.

The use of pain medication is very useful for getting a person through a period of severe or acute pain, but is not always successful at getting to and eliminating the underlying cause of pain. For many people, pain results from or is exacerbated by underlying causes such as decreased range of motion, nerve impingement, weakened muscle groups, stiff joints, poor posture and body alignment.

There are many types of pain and inflammation that can be reduced through the addition of physical therapy.  A physical therapy evaluation can identify the underlying causes of pain. Based on evaluation findings, physical therapy can improve musculoskeletal alignment to increase ROM and improve muscle strength.

Upon initial visit, the physical therapist will perform a complete musculoskeletal assessment and design an individualized plan of treatment targeting the reduction of pain and improved physical function.

Physical therapy intervention may include the use of therapeutic exercise to increase strength, flexibility and range of motion, manual therapy to realign joints, or the use of modalities to include diathermy, electrical stimulation, biofeedback, monochromatic infrared and ultrasound for inflammation and pain management.

There may also be instruction and training in an individualized home exercise program, designed to be utilized independently on an ongoing basis, to help the patient prevent recurrence of the of the painful condition for areas such as the back, knee and shoulder.

Whether the pain is caused from a degenerative disease, improper exercising or acute injury, the physical therapist works in collaboration with the person’s personal physician to effectively progress the patient to reduce pain and improve function.

The goal of physical therapy is to reduce the pain so that the person can improve the ability to perform their activities of daily living and return to participating in things they enjoy.

Angela Quinn, MPT, is the lead physical therapist for Life Care Center of Hilton Head.